My new friend in the kitchen
Over the weekend, I got myself a slow cooker (aka crock pot). I’m hoping to use it once or twice a week to increase the number of homemade meals we eat (as opposed to eating out or resorting to pre-packaged food). All in all, I think this will be a good thing mainly by reducing the amount of packaging we generate from store-bought meals and styrofoam from restaurant takeout. But while running it for 8 hours on Sunday, I started wondering about the net energy impact of this new appliance. Turns out, it’s not so easy to figure out whether we’re coming out ahead. One problem is that we have a gas stove, so it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Just for giggles, though, here’s a summary of what I’ve found. You can draw your own conclusions.
According to Clallum County, WA Public Utility Division, a crock-pot runs at 100 watts (Typical Appliance Energy Use and Costs) so running it once a week for 8 hours means 3.2 kWh/month. If you have an electric stove, the range runs at 12,500 watts, while burners average 1300 – 2400 watts apiece. Any smarties out there who can compare kWh to natural gas use by the typical stovetop, I’d love to be able to compare the amount of energy I would normally use to simmer soups and stews during the month on my gas stove….
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission recommends using a crock-pot rather than gas oven and/or stovetop (Pennsylvania Utility Choice) as does the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (Pollution Prevention and You). Crock-pot use even gets the thumbs-up by GreenerChoices.org (appears to be a project by Consumer Reports). No hard numbers to help compare though….